The Curse of the Byrom Family

OoOoOoOoOoOohhh. No, not that kind of curse. A much milder one, but still incredibly annoying. My family’s curse only applies to tourist attractions.

For years now, it has been a frequent theme on my family’s travels to go to see some site, and to arrive there, only to find it is closed, or under renovation, or some other reason why we can’t see this place.

The earliest memory I have of this was in Holland. We were in Holland during the foot and mouth epidemic in the UK. As such, after travelling to a park, we were refused entry, in case we brought foot and mouth with us.

My parents have spoken many other times about going somewhere and it being closed or being rebuilt. I personally have a few on my travels as well:

  • A temple in Ueno Park in Tokyo. It looked great, brightly coloured. I was taking photos of course. As I got closer, I realised it was covered in a giant tent, painted to look like the temple, as it was being restored.
  • Several of the halls at Kiyomizudera were covered in huge tents and scaffolds, every time I have been there.
  • In Kobe, I wanted to visit the earthquake museum. I walked miles on a rainy Thursday, only to find out that it is closed on Thursdays.
  • One of the large temple halls in Nara, is tented and under reconstruction from 2010 until 2018!


I hope, somehow, this curse will be broken, and we can actually see the things that we travel and hope to see.


No forced pick-ups


Recently I was looking into a club in Osaka that a friend from England wants to go to. He simply wanted to know what sort of dress code they have, and if he should bring smart shoes. However, while looking through the various rules that they have (some seem ridiculous, such as “no cameras”, while others should be common sense, such as “no molesting” or “don’t drink and drive”), I found one that made me raise an eyebrow. The Japanese is 強引ナンパ禁止 / ごういん・ナンパ・きんし / gouin nanpa kinshi, seen below. which translates literally as “no forced pick-ups”. 強引/ごういん/gouin means “strong”, “pushy” or “forceful”. ナンパ/nanpa has many meanings, including playboy or social story, but in this context means “picking up girls”

keep dress code

 This translates literally as “no forced pick-ups”. 強引/ごういん/gouin means “strong”, “pushy” or “forceful”. ナンパ/nanpa has many meanings, including playboy or social story, but in this context means “picking up girls”, and 禁止 /きんし/kinshi means “ban”. So strong pick-ups are banned.

But what does that mean exactly?

I did some searching, first my simple searching the phrase. The first website that came up was the one I had already found it. After that was a series of English to Japanese translations. So from what I can gather, it simply means “don’t be aggressive in your pursuit of a girl”. Seems this is only restricted to men doing it, you never know, stranger things have happened. 


Now, it seems like a smart rule. But I have seen stranger things. I remember the first time I was in Japan two years ago. A few friends and I went to a bar in Nara. It was a nice place with a good atmosphere. But on the front of the menu was one rule “No picking up guys or gals”. For one, it just sounds strange using “guys and gals” at all. Secondly, the fact that it was only written in English, and no Japanese equivalent, as if it was directed at foreigners.

But aside from that, the very fact that a bar at all would ban this. I can see how this would have benefits and create a relaxed atmosphere, but I don’t think it is the establishments place to outright ban this sort of thing. Say a man and a woman start talking in a normal way. Who decides whether someone is getting picked up? What if someone wanted to meet someone else?


Everyday I still find things that I find strange in this country…

17/12/13: School is over

So yeah, university finished for me this last Thursday, with the last of my essays and the last of my exams. Now is just the waiting game to find out our final grades. I’ve already had two back, so now just waiting on the last two.

Today I went to Smile English School (sumairu eikaiwa in Japanese) to a sort of job interview. I had found out this school through a friend, and had contacted them about two months ago about working. So I went today, and it wasn’t really an interview. Simply, work this time and we’ll give you this much. This will be the second job I’ve worked in Japan, with a third coming up around Christmas. So that’s three jobs, and not a single interview, not a single CV given out, and no experience needed for any of them. I’m glad I’m working now and that I can earn some real money (the bar honestly doesn’t pay well). Having this money now means I can go out and experience Japan a whole lot more than I already have, and I’m planning to get out of the Kansai area (where I live, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe etc.). I’m thinking of heading to maybe Tokyo towards the end of the holiday.

Coming to the end of term means that a lot of the exchange students are leaving Japan now. Most people here only stay one term rather than two like I do. It’s going to be strange not seeing the usual people’s faces around at university. But, next semester will bring new friends and new opportunities.

As for Christmas, I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing yet. I’ve been trying to plan going to get Christmas dinner somewhere in Osaka, but I haven’t gotten round to doing it yet. I need to get that sorted!


And well, that’s about it today. Sorry, no photos this time round, this one is just a quick catch up post. I’ll soon be writing again about things I have done over the past couple of months, and my experience as an English teach here in Japan.

That’s all folks, see you next time.